Greystone students hear it on their first day and again on their last day – and many times in between! We post it on documents and posters and have it printed on everything from running shirts to bumper stickers – "Them." What does it mean and why is it so important to Greystone? The answer is something that is initially grown as an idea and evolves over nine months into an engine to inspire leadership. Upon arrival in August, most candidates will freely admit that they are at Greystone to earn their academy appointment. A valid answer to the question of why they are here, but as a new Greystone student, they soon realize that their reasons are mostly self-serving (they are here for themselves, for their parents, for their girlfriends or boyfriends). One of the most important parts of the Greystone experience is to motivate and inspire young men and women to excel toward excellence in all that they do. It is the stuff that powers this thing called "drive" and "determination" and "tenacity" for without it, students have no passion for overcoming the challenges that lie ahead. At Greystone, students are motivated and inspired not for themselves, but for them. At Greystone - and throughout their time at the academies or in the service - "them" refers to those they lead. Truly effective leaders are outstanding because they realize that without followers who trust and believe in them, they are alone. Therefore, it is for "them" that every moment of the Greystone experience is meaningful and applicable to their future at the academies and as leaders in the Armed Forces. Greystone students soon realize that they are here for a real purpose and that purpose is to become the best scholar, athlete and leader that they can become so that when put into a position of leadership, they will be ready to assume the awesome responsibility that comes with leadership. The problem is that for many prep school students and even some at the academies, they are not true to themselves or to their purpose - they are more focused on having fun or the party. Unfortunately, that attitude will not drive the engine that is needed to excel toward excellence nor will it provide them with there passion and commitment they need to maximize their prep school and academy experience - and as a result, when they graduate, they are not prepared for leadership and those who must depend on their leaders are left wanting more. For Greystone students, professionalism and honor is something they are instilled with on day one and by May when they depart campus, they know in their hearts and heads that they are ready for the next step - not to just "get by", but rather to excel! They do this not for themselves, but for them - it is that simple!
As aspiring leaders, Greystone students are willing to live by an Honor Code that they write and then sign. They are willing to live by a Standard of Conduct that they also write and then sign - in a public forum. They are willing to work very hard from 0530 every morning until late into the night to make their mind, body and spirit stronger. They are willing to set the example for those seeking a mentor or friend and to lend a helping hand to those in need who are much less fortunate. They become men and women of action, no longer willing to look the other way. They become teammates with others, who like themselves, seek to become the best of the best. For those on the team, they are more than teammates and classmates, they are brothers or sisters with whom they treat with respect and dignity. They learn the meaning of truth and trust and honor - all essential elements as they grow into men and women of character and integrity. The question is why? Why endure so much when there are such easier ways to get by. Is it excellence or is it tenacity? The answer is derived from their own definition of leadership – and how they define it as their end state.
Greystone students learn about servant leadership. For many “leaders” this concept is foreign - nothing more than words, however, for the true leader – one who must take those he or she will lead into harm’s way, servant leadership is more than words – it is a promise and a way of life. A promise to put the needs of those they lead (them) and their well-being before their own. It is about taking care of those they lead because as their leader, they must trust with their lives in you. It is for them that you are willing to push yourself toward excellence in all that you do – every minute of every day. It is for them that you choose the hard road – the road of truth, trust, honor and character. It is for them that you are willing to fight – because they will fight for you! It is for them that you become the very best leader you can possibly be.
For this reason – them – Greystone students are willing to put it all on the line and perform to their highest potential – as a scholar, athlete and leader. They know that somewhere out there is that group of men and women who are, at this very moment, enduring hardship at the pointed end of the spear. And while they are in harm’s way, Greystone students know that they have an obligation to them to do what is right and what is best. Every moment that is spent in the pursuit of their commission as a leader should be a moment dedicated to them. From the moment our students arrive at Greystone their life changes from the pursuit of self-serving interests to the pursuit of excellence – as a scholar, athlete and leader. Their dedication to them will serve to drive that engine needed to empower each student with self-confidence, self-respect and self-esteem so they grow toward their ultimate goal of becoming the best for the best! This is the Greystone mindset and it is the attitude that maintains the focus and dedication for all of the right reasons. There is clarity of purpose and every moment that is invested in them moves the academy candidate one step closer to that appointment and the leader one step closer to that commission. The stakes are high and there are no guarantees, but the goal is worthy of a your total commitment and it is for this reason that so many Greystone students succeed where so many others fall short.
Somewhere out there are those men and women who are waiting for their Greystone students and soon-to-be academy graduates and commissioned officers to assume the awesome responsibility of command – and it is for them that each Greystone student, academy cadet and midshipman, and commissioned officer must do their very best at all times.
Always Ready…For "Them."